Sinking Creek Baptist
2313 Elizabethton Hwy.
Johnson City, TN 37601
Phone: (423) 928-3222
The Oldest Church in the State of Tennessee!
Sinking Creek Baptist Church is named for a tributary of the Watauga River. It is located on the Old Elizabethton to Johnson City Highway in Carter County. It is the oldest church of any faith in the state of Tennessee still in existence at its original location. It was organinzed 1772 in Washington County (now Carter County).
Matthew Talbot was the first pastor. Worship services have continued through the years except during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. In 1778 evangelists Charles and John Chastain, brothers from Virginia, held a revival here and the need for a larger church was realized. Pastor Talbot, Joshua Kelly, and a Mr. Maulkey planned and erected what is now known as the "Old Log Church" that still stands today with many of its' original logs intact. E. Reece Harris was the longest standing pastor to the congregation. He served from 1962 - June of 2012.
Worship and an occasional wedding is held there mostly in the summer months. Because of its' legendary past it is now a historical landmark and can be viewed each Saturday and Sunday; Monday between the hours of 1:00-4:00 pm. It shares the same grounds with the new church built in 1962. Rev. Jayson Hoagland is the Senior Pastor to the congregation at Sinking Creek.
Highlights in the history of Sinking Creek Baptist Church 1772 – 2014
1772-1773: Church organized by first pastor Matthew Talbot.
1776: Church disbanded because of Indian uprising.
1777-1778: Reorganized by Talbot, Mr. Maulkey and Joshua Kelly.
1783: New Buildings erected of logs.
1786: Invited to join movement to organize the Holston Association.
1789: Adopted resolution allowing only Baptist to use the Church.
1791: Mrs. McDowel, a church member, scalped by Indians.
1807: Holston Association met with the Church for the first time.
1826: Adherents of the Campbell Movement excluded from the Church Membership.
1853: Adopted resolution opposing sale of intoxicating drinks.
1861-1865: Church closes due to Civil War period.
1869: Joined movement to reorganize Watauga Association.
1884: Watauga Association met with the Church.
1923: Church reorganizes.
1924: Church remodeled and enlarged.
1935: Pioneer Homecoming Celebration.
1940: Sunday School rooms built in the basement.
1949: Church purchased two buses.
1951: Homecoming Plans for new Sunday School rooms and parsonage discussed.
1961: Reece Harris called to pastor.
1962: New Church built. Log Church becomes tourist attraction.
1965: Log Church repair begins.
1968: New Parsonage built. New parking complex finished.
1985: Christian Family Life Center built, with gym, kitchen, and dining area.
1990: First Church cookbook published under the auspices of Paulette Harris.
1992: Phillip Harris named Youth Director. Organizes Bible study with youth groups
1996: Extended parking complex completed. Judgment House begins every Saturday night in October.
1997: Stained glass windows installed. Land purchased adjacent to Life Center.
1999: Church Steeple erected. Thirty passenger bus purchased.
2000: Family Life Center (FLC) dedicated to Rev. Reece Harris. Land Purchased adjacent to log Church. Plans to build pavilion discussed.
2003: Church pavilion built.
2004: New paved driveway completed from Church to pavilion to afford easier access. Newly constructed children’s playground. New wood rail fence separates the driveway from the old Church grounds and the roses along the fence lends a kind of “old world” charm to the walk way to the pavilion.
2005-2006: Complete makeover for Church sanctuary.
2009: Sidewalk poured connecting the Kitchen to the Gym entrance at the Family Life Center. Church website created.
2010: New chairs and round tables were purchased for the kitchen in memory of Brother Earl Campbell.
2013: Reece Harris steps down pasturing Sinking Creek. Keith Weatherly called as a interim pastor.
2014: Church app for android devices created. Jayson Hoagland called to pastor.